Sunday, July 7, 2013

Can you keep raising the bar? Another Santa Cruz summer

I am back in Santa Cruz for year 3 as academic dean of my program for gifted children and couldn’t be happier to be back. This is a beautiful campus, the program is fantastic, and I feel really fortunate to be with a great team of staff and group of energetic, intellectually curious students. The kids have been here for almost week, and things are off to a good start.
One of the things we tell the families of our program is that we raise the bar in terms of expectations in the classroom. These students, who may have maxed out their schools at home, now come to our program, where the bar is raised so much higher. So, they have been the top student at home, but they have to recalibrate expectations as they take on a much more challenging workload.
That raised bar goes for us as staff and administration as well. We have to work more each year to make sure that our students are getting those challenges and are adjusting to the learning curve. For all of us, nearly 300 of us on site, staff and students alike, we watch the bar go up higher and higher, and each year prepare to clear it.
The bar is raised for running as well. Each year, even though I am now well-versed in the trails and routes, that bar is set high again. The learning curve in adjusting to the terrain is always there, proving that even through several years of consistent running, the bar keeps on climbing.
For the sake of this blog, the running that comes with being in Santa Cruz is a big sell. I think it is the best seven weeks of running that I do all year. With that in mind, I am really doing my best to get the runs in and not hit snooze. And that’s tempting  - these are long days at camp – we not only have class in the morning and afternoon, but evening as well. That in of itself is an endurance event, so it sometimes presents a challenge to get training in as well. But I’ve been able to train nearly every single day I’ve been here, so that is a good track record (pun intended ) so far.
Of course, Santa Cruz gives me some of the best running not just because of the cooler temperatures but because of its hills. Rolling hills in the trails, and then 2.5 miles of steady climbs of 600 feet on the perimeter road of campus. No matter what kind of shape I'm in, it is always an adjustment to take those hills on. But the view is just so beautiful and every run I still feel like I have to pinch myself that I get to do it here. The climbs can be hard, but the view from above is just spectacular.

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